St Mary’s Church


St. Mary’s Church belongs to the Church of England. It is a vibrant working church with a dedicated vicar and regular Sunday services. Click here to go to their website

Heritage Lottery Fund

Heritage Grant applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.


St. Mary’s Church submitted a formal application to the Heritage Lottery Fund in August 2016.  Many people will know this special little church with its gorgeous monuments and paintings .The appeal to save it from deterioration has been running for several years. This first part of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid is for £131,700 to complete development works. The church has already raised the £61,000 match funding needed for this stage of the project.  The second and following part of the HLF bid outlines a request for a £615,000 contribution towards the £876,000 costs to restore St. Mary’s historic interiors and make it more accessible to the public with access improvements, imaginative interpretation and lively education programmes.

View the full press release here


May 29 2017

‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’

An evening of music & poetry presented by Strictly Recorders and the Wentworth Voices

St. Mary’s 15th July 2017  7.30pm

Tickets on the door £5 in support of St. Mary’s Church Conservation Project

St. John Triptych 2017

Opportunities to see the rare 17th Century St. John Family Triptych unlocked and discover the fascinating story behind it:

June 4th, 11th, 18th 25th in the afternoon

July 21st, 22nd & 23rd for its 402nd Birthday

Sep  8th, 9th & 10th September 2017 as part of Nation Heritage Weekend.

There is no charge to visit the church or see the Triptych but donations are welcomed in aid of the St. Mary’s Church Conservation Project

December 16 2016

St. Mary’s Church Lydiard Tregoze, which lies on the western edge of Swindon in historic Lydiard Park, has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to conserve its gorgeous interiors. The project aims include conserving the buildings extensive medieval wall paintings, 17th Century monuments like the famous Golden Cavalier, ancient carved woodwork and star spangled ceiling.

The grant of £131,700 towards this £186,700 phase will enable the church to complete its development plans and progress to applying for a full grant of £746,700 in 2017/18.

Project Champion, Rt. Reverend Dr Lee Rayfield, Bishop of Swindon said “we are delighted that Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.  St.Mary’s is a national treasure and preserving its unique features will benefit both local people and the nation’s heritage”.

The project aims to rescue the church from deteriorating further and improve public access, re-open the hidden south porch and create a welcoming interpretation and activity area. The church plans a wide range of educational activities and events as well as offering training and volunteer opportunities for local people, families, school children and higher education students. These will include hands on conservation workshops and skills training.

Mike Bowden, Chair of the Friends of Lydiard Park said, ““The Friends of Lydiard Park have been supporting the St. Mary’s project for several years and have pledged £100,000 towards its completion.  It is tremendous news that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given it the green light.  This is a wonderful Christmas present for Lydiard and everyone who has worked so hard to help make it happen”.

St. Mary’s stands behind the gracious mansion of Lydiard House and is famous for the richness of its monuments to the St. John family who lived at Lydiard for over 500 years. It currently attracts over 8,000 visitors a year from both this country and abroad and is well used by local schools researching heritage on their doorstep and visitors to the adjacent house and park. Recently Swindon College students honed their drawing skills in the building as part of the national Big Draw event.

Project Manager Hilary Gardner: “It is wonderful news and we are immensely grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund and very excited about taking our plans forward, especially working with the many organisations from across the town – The Friends of Lydiard Park, schools, colleges, NADFAS groups, Swindon Festival of Literature, Prime Theatre and many more – that have enthusiastically supported the project and pledged their support and involvement”.

Paul Gardner, Chairman of the Fund Raising Campaign: “We have successfully raised the match funded of £55,000 needed for this stage of the project and thank the Heritage Lottery Fund whole heartedly for making this crucial award. We are looking forward to beginning this new and exciting phase early in the New Year”.

Nerys Watts, Head of HLF South West:  “At the heart of Swindon’s Lydiard Park, St Mary’s is an important part of the town’s history and home to a unique and nationally significant collection of medieval wall paintings. Thanks to National Lottery players we’re delighted to support this vital first step towards securing the future of the collection and its historic Grade I Listed home and enabling even more people to enjoy the stories they hold”.

November 21, 2016

St. Mary’s Church is attracting record numbers of visitors with well over 7,000 people enjoying the building and taking part in project events this year.  And as the church waits for news on its Heritage Lottery Fund bid in December activities and events continue.

Heritage Open Days: Autumn got off to a flying start with Heritage Open Days in September when the church laid on talks, tours and the chance to climb the bell tower and see the ancient bells close up.  St. Mary’s also took part in the 500 church bell ringing event which rang simultaneously across the country.

The Big Draw:  In October Swindon College Students studying creative arts, design and illustration set up their drawing boards in St. Mary’s as part of The Big Drawa nationwide celebration of drawing.  Swindon College Associate Lecturer Joanna Billingham said “We heard about the conservation project at the church and saw the amazing medieval wall paintings and the church’s artefacts and we thought it would be great to have a trip with the students. … not only so they could see these amazing things in the church themselves, but also to spend some time really looking.  Because that’s what drawing forces you to do – to really look closely at things as though it were the first time you have seen them.”

Alan Titchmarsh has also dropped by, filming in the church for the ITV Masterpiece which will be broadcast in spring 2017. The programme will feature the famous 17th Century St. John family Triptych.

Meanwhile, not a month goes by without several academics visiting St. Mary’s as part of their research, often providing new insights and observations on this extraordinary building – not least Julian Orbach who is currently producing the 3rd edition of ‘Pevsner’s Buildings of England, Wiltshire’.

Annual Garden of Remembrance: On a more solemn note November 10th saw the annual Remembrance Service in Lydiard’s Walled Garden –opened by HRH Prince Harry in 2010, it is one of the 7 National Gardens of Remembrance in the country.  Revd. Clive Deverell of St. Mary’s officiated the service which was attended by the family and friends of those fallen or harmed in recent conflicts together with representatives of the armed services, the Royal British Legion and local dignitaries. West Swindon school children brought a new dimension to the service, singing “Respect and Unity “which was originally composed by St. Mary’s Primary Age School Worker Gayle Bryon, for the Queens 90th birthday celebrations at the church.

The Walled Garden and St .Mary’s Church opened every day between 10th and 20th November 2016.  A short service of remembrance including a two minute silence was held at 11am and 2pm in the walled garden every day, concluding with the closing service of the field of remembrance on the 20th November 2016 by St Marys.

One of St. Mary’s project ambitions is to create a permanent memorial within St. Mary’s for the many people making the pilgrimage to the garden during the rest of the year.

If you would like to find out more about the conservation project, whether to become involved or perhaps you belong to a local group that would enjoy a tour of the church please do contact Paul Gardner on

August 20, 2016

St. Mary’s Church, Lydiard Tregoze has submitted a revised application for a grant to complete the major restoration of the building, some of which dates back to the 13th Century.

The appeal to save the unique wall painting and monuments from deterioration has been running for several years.  The first part of the HLF bid is for £131,700 to complete development works. The church has already raised the £61,000 match funding needed for this stage of the project. The second and following part of the HLF bid outlines a request for a £615,000 contribution towards the £876,000 costs to restore St. Mary’s historic interiors and make it more accessible to the public with access improvements, imaginative interpretation and lively education programmes.

Appeal chairman Paul Gardner said: “St. Mary’s is widely regarded as one of the most important small churches in the country. People who come to visit it are amazed to see the treasures it contains. But we desperately need the funds to prevent the historic interiors deteriorating further.” So far the church has successfully raised all the money needed to restore the building’s structure and make it weather tight. In June this year it celebrated the restoration of the 18th Century Reredos – the beautifully painted panels behind the altar which had been gradually disintegrating. Paul continued: “While we await the outcome of our Heritage Lottery Application, carrying out the work to the Reredos has kept interest in the project alive and shown the public that their donations to our appeal fund are being used to continue to restore and conserve the building’s beautiful interiors.”

St. Mary’s is famous for its Golden Cavalier, the rare St. John family polyptych –  the life size painted panels of the St. John family in the 17th Century and a host of other monuments. Wall paintings in St Mary’s, Lydiard Park. Appeal chair Paul Gardner, right, with appeal adviser Sarah Finch-Crisp and project architect Jonathan Saunders. ©Calyx Picture Agency. “It’s rare and extensive medieval wall paintings are less well known and are half hidden from view by dirt and discolouration,” said Paul. “The wall paintings, including a rare surviving example illustrating the murder of Thomas Becket, are a main focus of the project. They have been identified by the Church of England as one of the 100 artworks currently most in need of conservation in their 100 Church Treasures Appeal. Revealing these ancient pictures will transform the building and bring its fascinating history alive.

The church has received considerable support from across the community with over 50 organisations and key individuals pledging their support. Conservation project manager Hilary Gardner added: “We have been working hard with organisations across the town to develop ways in which local people can get involved in this exciting project. We are delighted to have the support and engagement of Swindon College, Swindon Heritage, Prime Theatre Company, our seven local primary schools, Lydiard Park Heritage Trust, NADFAS groups and many others too numerous to name.

“We are immensely grateful to The Friends of Lydiard Park for their financial support and encouragement and Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council, Cabinet Member for Economy, Regeneration and Skills, who has written in support of our project.”